Buck the Trend, Grab ‘em Early

By Eddie Mayrose

If you’re a Wagstaff follower, you’ve heard this refrain before.  “Grab the best Fantasy Receivers as early as possible.”  It’s a theory put into practice every year by the Professor as he constructs his Fantasy Football Roster; one that has annually provided a tremendous edge over Fantasy Owners locked into the standard system of front-loading running backs.  Here’s why.

It’s a widely accepted (yet flawed) idea that the elite ball carriers produce more than the best wideouts.  While I’ll agree that running backs are guaranteed significantly more touches, it doesn’t guarantee better production.  Texans’ star Andre Johnson was a Wagstaff first rounder in every draft.  Compare his 1,500 YDS and 9 TD to Stephen Jackson’s 1,300 YDS and 4 TD.  Now, it’d be crazy to pass on Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson or Maurice Jones-Drew with any of the first three picks but, after that, guys like Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss are way more likely to deliver their career averages than what’s left in the backfield.  Not to mention that running backs are infinitely more likely to get hurt.

So, take advantage of those in your Fantasy Football League that are mired in the conventional wisdom.  Stockpile two of the elite receivers before anyone realizes how that the position has thinned out and then scoop up mid-round running backs who’ll still help your team. Continue reading »

Next Stop For Flacco In the Stars

By Eddie Mayrose

Ranking  quarterbacks for a Fantasy Football Draft isn’t exactly rocket science.   Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are the top three, followed closely by Tom Brady and Matt Schaub.  Easy stuff, actually, and pretty much universal.  Rating the next five becomes a little dicey, however, as you’ll get very different opinions from Fantasy Football Owners as to which signal callers warrant these spots.  The vast differences of opinion create the potential for selections that will make or break a Fantasy Football Season.  For Professor Wagstaff’s money, the one man in that second five with the best chance of producing on the same level as the top tier is the Ravens’ Joe Flacco.

In 2008, Flacco, then a rookie out of Delaware, led the Ravens to the AFC Championship game; mostly by managing an offensive system that had been scaled down significantly in order to limit his mistakes.  The handcuffs came off last year and Flacco owners benefited from an increase in his production although, Baltimore’s less than stellar wideouts limited the bump in Fantasy points.

This season, however, Flacco could be directing an offensive juggernaut; something Ravens’ fans have never seen before, even during their Super Bowl season.  WR Mark Clayton, last year’s go-to guy, is now the third option after the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth while RB Ray Rice has become a first rounder in most Fantasy Football drafts due to his status as the NFL’s best receiver out of the backfield.  With the supporting cast now at Flacco’s disposal, he need only to continue the improvement he’s already shown to be that middle round pick you’ll point to when recounting how you managed to win your league in 2010. Continue reading »

McGee Survivor Fantasy Football League Loses Another Holmdel Franchise

After a one week reprieve, the Holmdel division of the McGee Survivor League suffered another casualty as affable,Horsefeathers4 young Edward saw his LeGarrete Blounts go down in flames. If you’re scoring at home, that’s the fourth of six from Old Mill Lane to bite the dust. Things look dicey on Long Island, this week, however, as Dr. Pete’s Samurai Shortbus must replace a number of starters on their bye week. Wagstaff rode the coattails of Thomas Jones to his best week of the season and might actually make it past the year’s halfway point. We’ll see.

Fantasy Football News and Notes

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson says his ankle is fine and he’ll start Sunday vs. Pittsburgh… LaDainian Tomlinson, plagued by injuries all year, missed time this week because of the flu… Anquan Boldin’s ankle kept him out of practice this week but he’s expected to be in Arizona’s starting lineup… Bills’ RB Marshawn Lynch, who missed the season’s first two games due to suspension, may have his first big game against Carolina, whose run defense is terrible… Colts’ WR Anthony Gonzalez, out since the opener with a knee injury, is close to returning to practice… While Greg Jennings’ hip injury kept him out of practice on Thursday, he will play on Sunday according to Packer coach Mike McCarthy… The Broncos refuse to mess with success and will continue to have Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno split carries; disappointing Fantasy owners of both players… Eagles’ WR Kevin Curtis will not play Monday vs. Washington… Jets’ WR Braylon Edwards has been bothered by a sore quad all week but is expected to play… Clinton Portis is dealing with multiple leg problems including knee, calf, ankle and plantar fascitis but will play Monday.

Fantasy Football Star

- Things line up extremely well for Laurence Maroney this week as the Patriots fly to London to face the Bucs. An injured Sammy Morris did not make the trip, leaving Maroney as the Pats’ go-to back, Tampa Bay’s run defense is one of the league’s weakest and he’s coming off a 123 yard effort last week.

Fantasy Football Stiff

- If you were waiting for Pittsburgh RB Willie Parker to return to your lineup, you won’t be happy to read this. Head Coach Mike Tomlin announced this week that Rashard Mandenhall, successful during Parker’s absence, will get the bulk of the work in the backfield.

Fantasy Football Sleeper

- Those Fantasy Football wners who drafted 49′ers WR Michael Crabtree may actually get some return on their investment this week. He’ll be used a s a slot receiver which may give him a few opportunities for yards after the catch. He’s an explosive player who should bump Josh Morgan from the starting lineup before long.

Fantasy Football Slipper

- Bad enough that the Jets have had their vaunted defense slapped around over the last few weeks but now they must continue without the services of NT Kris Jenkins, thought by many to be the unit’s best player. He’s lost for the season to a knee injury; severely jeopardizing the Jets’ ability to stop the run while sending waves of pressure at the QB.

Fantasy Football Survivors

Week Two saw the Shortbus Samurai Warriors run away from the rest of the McGee Survivor League in much the sameHorsefeathers4 way their RB, Chris Johnson, ran away from the Houston Texans.  Johnson was just what Dr. Pete ordered to stave off the elimination that was eventually suffered by the beautiful Jen G. who can turn the world on with her smile.  Unfortunately, she had a nothing day and was unable to make it all seem worthwhile.   It’s possible that she angered the gods of the Twin Cities in her failure to support the Twins superstar, Jason Kubel.  Well, it’s off to Roll-n-Roaster for Team Minnesota as the rest of the McGees head into Week Three.

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Fantasy Football’s Best Player

Don’t know if we need some kind of ceremony to mark a changing of the guard but Drew Brees is now, unquestionably, the best QB in the NFL.  After watching Tom Brady struggle for most of the Pats’ opener vs. Buffalo and then look totally flustered against the Jets, it’s obvious that he’s still shaking off the rust from last year. Brees now has 9 TD passes and more than 600 YDS through the first two weeks… So far, the Jets have been true to their word that they’ll get Leon Washington as many as 15 touches a game.  Not great news for Thomas Jones owners… Have to be concerned over what’s preventing Tony Romo and Roy Williams from getting on the same page in Dallas… Despite QB Kurt Warner’s sensational performance vs. Jacksonville, (24-26, 243 YDS, 2 TD), WR Anquan Boldin once again failed to establish himself.  Makes you wonder if his acrimonious contract negotiations have the Cards phasing him out of the offense as they prepare for life without him… You’d think that with two rookie WRs, TE Zach Miller would have significant value in the Raiders’ attack.  But, with QB JeMarcus Russell as likely to stink out the joint as not, even Miller is too risky a play…Don’t count RB Willis McGahee out of the Ravens’ game plan just yet. In Baltimore’s victory over San Diego, McGahee was the man at the goal line.

Week Three Projections

Fantasy Football Stars- Texans’ QB Matt Schaub lit up the Titans last week with 4 TD and 300 YDS. He’ll be facing a Jaguars’ DST that was shredded by Kurt Warner last week… Look for Giants’ WR Mario Manningham to be Eli Manning’s favorite target in Tampa off of his huge night in Dallas last week… Miami’s Ronnie Brown gave evidence on Monday night that he is one of the more underappreciated stars in the league with 136 YDS and 2 TD.  With the 0-2 Dolphins desperate for a win, they’ll put the ball in his hands.

Fantasy Football Stiffs- At first glance, Redskins QB Jason Campbell had a solid Week 2 vs. St. Louis.  However, when you realize he didn’t throw a TD pass against a terrible St. Louis squad, you have to worry about his production… Bucs’ WR Antonio Bryant missed last week’s game vs. Buffalo and his status is uncertain for this week’s game against the Giants.

Fantasy Football Sleepers- If Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck can’t go, look for the Seahawks to rely on RB Julius Jones with Seneca Wallace under center… It looks like Brett Favre has found his favorite receiver and it’s Percy Harvin. The Vikings’ rookie has a TD in each of his first two games…

Fantasy Football Slippers- New England’s Wes Welker pops up on this list based on the uncertainty of his injury status. Given Bellichick’s history of not disclosing injuries, (How surprised were you that Welker was out last week?), you can’t take a chance with Welker until game time…Don’t get sucked in by Eagles QB Kevin Kolb.  His 391 YDS vs. New Orleans was a nice surprise filling in for Donovan McNabb but two things should make you stay away. First, Donovan McNabb could return any time and, second, the Saints were up by so much throughout the game, Kolb threw way more than expected…Tampa Bay QB Byron Leftwich has had two solid weeks against Buffalo and Dallas but now must face the Giants; whose defense is a significant step above both.

by Professor Wagstaff

While many Fantasy Football owners focus on the running backs position as the starting point for their roster, it’s a Horsefeathers4Wagstaff tenet to, instead, stockpile Wide Receivers at the top of the Fantasy Football draft.  The idea is to take advantage of the fact that many owners severely undervalue the position and by grabbing two WR as soon as possible, you create a huge talent gap between your squad and the first of your opponents to realize that the pool just got very thin.  Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you burn one of the top five picks on a wideout but, if you do find yourself in that position, take an elite back and use the next two picks at WR.  You’ll not only end up with two elite players but you’ll likely start a position run that nets you a RB that slips through the cracks. 

Fantasy Football Rankings for Wide Receiver:

Studs

Andre Johnson is the man here, as the Texans’ superstar carried Waggy’s Holy Shirts and Pants to a semifinal appearance all by himself last season.  220 catches over the last two seasons and an emerging QB in Matt Schaub make him the top guy on our list.   He’ll grab another 100 REC this year and set a career high in TD…  Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald may be the most talented WR in the league but he’s got one drawback for Fantasy Owners that doesn’t exist for the others on this list: A star on the other side.  Fitzgerald’s career year was aided immensely by the prolonged absence of Anquan Boldin, who traditionally scores more TD.  Fitz will still be worth your first pick but his AVG and TD will likely drop…  Imagine what  Calvin Johnson could do if he wasn’t the focus of every team facing the Lions.  In a winless season, he managed 100 YDS in 11 games and scored 12 TD… With Tom Brady returning, Randy Moss should once again be the league’s best home run hitter.  Even though Mat Cassel did an incredible job guiding the Pats to the brink of the playoffs last year, he led a scaled down offense designed to limit mistakes, which hurt Moss owners.  In ’09′ however, chicks dig the long ball.

Stars

The arrivals of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner made a new man of Roddy White as he became Atlanta’s go-to receiver in their unexpected playoff season.  The only thing holding him back was a meager TD total of 7.  As Ryan improves, look for White to top the 88 REC and 1,382 YDS he delivered in ’08… Despite missing 4 games, Anquan Boldin still managed 89 REC and 11 TD.  He’s, once again, looking for a new contract and could find himself taking a back seat to Fitzgerald as the Cards’ shift the focus of their offense to the guy who’s staying.  He’s worth a 2nd or 3rd rounder, just don’t reach… With Marvin Harrison finally out of the picture, Reggie Wayne will get Peyton Manning’s undivided attention.  Considering how well he’s done while sharing it, Wayne is looking at a career year…  Steve Smith was suspended by the Panthers for the first two games of last season then made geniuses of all the Fantasy owners willing to wait for him.  He had over 1,400 YDS on 78 REC.  The only concern here is that his TD total (6) declined for the 4th straight season.

Sleepers

Michael Crabtree was such a great college receiver that Matt Millen would have drafted him were he still the man in Detroit.  As it is, Crabtree brings his incredible skills to San Fran, where he’ll probably team with Josh Morgan to form a terrific young tandem… Good news, bad news for Jericho Cotchery of the Jets. The departure of Laveraneus Coles means that he becomes the big gun but the absence of an established QB could hinder the process.  Bet on Mark Sanchez and take a flier on Cotchery as your third receiver…  Houston’s Kevin Walter is entering his contract year, (we love that), is playing with a QB on the verge of stardom and has defenses focusing on teammate Andre Johnson.  A repeat of last year’s stellar 60 REC, 900 YDS and 8 TD at the cost of a late round pick will make any Fantasy player smile.

Slippers

Has Terrell Owens finally run out of teams willing to put up with his nonsense?  Buffalo is this year’s desperate suitor, acquiring TO in the offseason.  The Bills will likely struggle in the AFC  East, he won’t like sharing the ball with Lee Evans and QB Trent Edwards is nowhere near established enough to command Owens’ respect.  Look for a Thanksgiving meltdown…  Braylon Edwards didn’t make it to the third round of most drafts last year and cost his owners dearly.  A season long case of the drops led to off season trade rumors that never became reality.  Now, he’s back in Cleveland with the same uncertain QB situation and a new coach.  Be careful.

Stiffs

At the end of most drafts, an owner looking to fill his roster inevitably sees a recognizable name and figures there’s no harm in taking the guy.  That’s how Seattle’s Nate Burleson ends up on most fantasy teams.  Don’t let it be yours… Michael Crabtree spells the end of the line for Frisco’s  Isaac Bruce who will be a third down option at best…  Chris Chambers was supposed to find the fountain of youth in San Diego last year.  Instead, he found just 33 REC and 5 TD’s.  Cross Chris off your list.

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 25 Fantasy Football Picks for WR:

  1. Andre Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Calvin Johnson
  4. Randy Moss
  5. Roddy White
  6. Anquan Boldin
  7. Reggie Wayne
  8. Greg Jennings
  9. Steve Smith
  10. Marques Colston
  11. Roy Williams
  12. Wes Welker
  13. Dwayne Bowe
  14. Brandon Marshall
  15. Vince Jackson
  16. Braylon Edwards
  17. Michael Crabtree
  18. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  19. Antonio Bryant
  20. Santonio Holmes
  21. Jericho Cotchery
  22. Terrell Owens
  23. Laveraneus Coles
  24. Hines Ward
  25. Kevin Walter
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